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Parents of older thumb sucking children......

(20 Posts)
IlanaK Thu 16-Jul-09 20:29:31

My eldest ds is now 8. He has always sucked his thumb and it has never bothered me (I was a thumb sucker too). He only really sucks it when he is going to bed, or when really tired and reading on his bed or similar. We have never made a big deal of it or really said much about it. However, the other night I noticed (I think) that his front teeth are starting to stick out ever so slightly. I mentioned it very very gently to him, told him about how I had to have braces as a teenager, and said that maybe we could think about his stopping thumb sucking at some point. It was a gentle no pressure talk. However, when he went to bed, he was soooooo upset thinking about stopping, even though we had not asked him to stop right then. We talked about it and said maybe he could just think about stopping during the day, and we would help remind him. But today he has asked a few times about when he would have to stop completely.

Now, I really don't want to upset or pressure him about this. On the otherhand, I really really do not want to get to the point that his front teeth stick out and he needs braces. Realistically, he will need to stop soon to prevent this.

How on earth do I go about this? Has anyone else been through it with an older child?

IlanaK Thu 16-Jul-09 20:53:53

My son can't be the only one surely?

Nappyzoneisabeetrootrunner Thu 16-Jul-09 21:04:03

My dd age 6 was a constant thumb sucker she had toned it down loads and we put nail biting stuff on her thumb to discourage it an constantly reminded her. It seems she stopped apaprt form bed time for about 5 motnhs but the last few days its been in there again - i have told her about germs and swine flu and keeping fingers away form her face - our dentist has already told us she will need brace when older and there is nothing we could do to prevent it now - i had braces due to sticky out teeth but i never thumb sucked. Good luck.

IlanaK Thu 16-Jul-09 21:05:11

Was she upset about it? That is the problem here - he feels quite upset at the thought of it.

fishie Thu 16-Jul-09 21:09:02

ilana i sucked my thumb till i was about 11 and no probs with teeth and who is to say that you (and he) wouldn't have had braces anyway.

not ask dentist at next checkup? seems grim to remove happy comforting thing for no reason.

IlanaK Thu 16-Jul-09 21:11:12

We have an upcoming appointment with an excellent children's dentist soon (just a check up) so I will definately ask. But I am sure that I am noticing a change in his teeth. For me, it was definately thumb sucking that did it - I had massively sticking out front teeth. The only thing that stopped me sucking was the braces themselves. They were fixed braces and actually had two metal spikes sticking up from the inside of the bottom front teeth to stop me sucking shock . This was many many years ago and was in America.

ABetaDad Thu 16-Jul-09 21:14:36

IlanaK - DS2 does at 7 and will for some time. He does when he is tired too like your DS. I am relutant to tell him off or make a thing out of it. His middle front milk teeth did fall out early though so he may need braces later when his new teeth grow in.

CarGirl Thu 16-Jul-09 21:15:25

They can put a metal bar across to stop theumb sucking. The biggest issue is that it develops an open bite where there top and bottom don't meet properly.

Dd is 7 has been told she needs to stop, she will need orthodontic work but they won't do it until she has stopped. Ortho told us she has to want to stop, bribery has helped as an incentive.

Best advice he gave was a pair of socks on hands secured with tape to stop her pulling them off in her sleep!

fishie Thu 16-Jul-09 21:15:33

but i know a family who have teeth like that and no thumbs have been used. obviously just because it didn't do me any harm doesn't mean it mightn't for everyone, but i think that people do have some very strange prejudices about thumb sucking. a bit like bf, that freud is to blame with his oral fixation nonsense.

ps i started smoking at 14.

shivermetimbers Thu 16-Jul-09 21:18:29

It can be a real problem,not only dentally,but it can also become a habit that is very hard to break.My sister (hecate) still sucks her thumb at the age of 35.

Nappyzoneisabeetrootrunner Thu 16-Jul-09 21:36:40

she doesnt get upset she just gets fed up of her reminding her shes not a baby.

fruitshootsandheaves Thu 16-Jul-09 21:41:37

My DS is nearly 14 and still sucks his thumb.
DD2 had braces for a few months because he teeth were slanting slightly back and the dentist said then that DS probably corrected his own teeth by thumbsucking.
That wasn't very helpful to encourage him to stop though. I wish the dentist had been a bit more negative about it.

Stormfly Thu 16-Jul-09 21:44:28

My ds (also 8) still does this too. His front teeth do stick out a bit and I think he should stop now but it is easier said than done. Bribery worked for a while but then he started biting his nails instead. He also sucks his thumb in his sleep. Painting the stuff on his nails hasn't worked and I am now at the stage of flicking his hand everytime he puts his fingers in his mouth. As well as the teeth to consider, there is the germ-collecting aspect (as well as SF, the school toilets are yuk) so I am thinking of linking no-fingers-in-mouth time to computer time.

I know it is a comfort thing and have let it go in the past but I feel he is old enough to stop now (I stopped at nine but it wasn't affecting my teeth). Dentist says it's hard to tell whether the teeth would have been like that anyway but thumb-sucking isn't going to help. Sorry, no answers yet - still working on it!

littlebrownmouse Thu 16-Jul-09 21:47:38

DH is 35 and sucks his fingers. he's not bothered about where he does it. he sucks them at work, when sitting up at the front with the worship band at church, when driving. Its grim. He hs the most lovely striaght teeth though, so obviously they've not been effected in this way, BUT they are starting to wear away at the front. :-(

SoupDragon Thu 16-Jul-09 21:54:23

The only thing that stopped DS1 sucking his thumb at around 8 was braces that prevented him from opening his mouth. Once the open bite in his teeth closed up, he couldn't get the thumb in any more.

He's now 10 and, 2 years into £4k worth of orthodontic treatment, has the most fabulous teeth, and jawline. Sometimes I still find his thumb up by his mouth when I go to kiss him goodnight though, even though he can't get it in any more.

shivermetimbers Thu 16-Jul-09 21:54:57

It can damage the thumb too. Sisters sucking thumb is considerably smaller and bent out of shape.

fishie Thu 16-Jul-09 21:56:21

why do you not think that helpful fruitshootesandheaves? it sounds absolutely great to me. no dental treatment and lots of enjoyable thumb sucking.

Wilts Thu 16-Jul-09 22:01:17

Ds1 is 12 and still sucks his thumb. He is currently on the waiting list for braces,top and bottom.

I feel there is nothing I can do to stop him, he hardly knows he is doing it.I am hoping once the braces are fitted he will have difficulty sucking so will have to stop.

HecatesTwopenceworth Thu 16-Jul-09 22:48:31

thanks for that, shiver.
<hard stare>

purpleduck Thu 16-Jul-09 23:09:05

dd is 7 and still does it - I think her teeth are getting wonky too sad

I don't know what to do - she is starting to get teased at school. I am trying to get her to stop during the day.

Anyone know if there are any links between thumb suckin and smoking?

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